Short sidenote before my post: Today (Tuesday) is the LAST DAY to vote for my Barna FRAMES essay! If you’re on Facebook, visit this page to read my “Dating Well” essay and cast your vote: http://ngx.me/hnxr775i. Thanks!!!
If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen some photos from my recent travels. My job took me around the world in November. And I do mean “around the world” quite literally. I left Newark Airport headed east… made a couple pitstops along the way… and continued eastward until I returned to Newark Airport. It was surreal and my internal clock is only slightly recovered. I still wake up every morning at 3:00 a.m. and wonder where I am.
A recent change in job function has opened doors for more travel. The Dora in me is psyched! I love seeing new places, exploring countries I’ve never been to, and admiring God’s handiwork around the globe. I’m at a place in my life where not much is holding me down, meaning I don’t have kids or a husband that depend on me. I don’t even have a dog. I’ve got wings and I’m ready to fly! (Of course, when said wings are cramped into tiny airline seats for 15-hour flights to Shanghai, I miss the comfort of my own home. Small price to pay, I suppose!)
My brother recently had a conversation with a mutual friend of ours and mentioned my new position at work. Her immediate reaction was surprising to me.
“She’s single, right?”
“Yep,” my brother replied.
“Oh…” she retorted, “it’s really hard to meet someone when you travel.”
[A moment of silence for you to gather your thoughts.]
[Okay, now I'll jump in with mine.]
IS SHE SERIOUS?!?!
Exciting doors have opened where I’ll get to travel and see places I’ve never seen before and meet incredible people from around the world… and her first reaction was that it would make my husband hunt difficult?
If you can’t tell, I was put off by this remark. For many reasons. Her comment implies that it’s easier to meet people while sitting still — that I would somehow have better odds at landing a man if I were to act out the regular 9-to-5, daily routine like everybody else.
Well, I’ve got news for you, sista: Been there, done that, still single!
Living, working, and breathing in the same town or city doesn’t automatically make dating easier. In many ways, it makes it harder. Yes, there are positive aspects to staying put and allowing relationships to grow over time. But there are also frustrations that come along with not meeting new people even when we continually change up our routine and “put ourselves out there.”
Apart from that false implication in her statement, I was more perturbed by the presumptions behind it:
1) Getting married should be the number one goal on my life list, above anything else. And if anything else gets in the way of that goal, I should avoid it.
2) Single people shouldn’t strive for adventure or fun or excitement. We should wait until we have a spouse to do those things with us.
To be honest, I’m not mad at this woman. She only spoke from experience, as she is a world traveler herself who is now married with children. Perhaps on her journey, she found it really hard to date while living out of a suitcase for months at a time.
I get that.
But in my experience, dating is really hard no matter what. I can live here or there, work in this job or that job, be on this dating website or that matchmaking service — nothing’s a guarantee.
I refuse to put my life on hold because it may be easier to meet a man here or there. I’ve fallen prey to that mentality before and, frankly, it’s pure foolishness.
The God I serve is bigger. He’s bigger than a few miles of distance. He’s bigger than a hectic work schedule. He’s bigger than difficult social scenes or complicated families or staggering loneliness.
And even more than that, God loves me. He wants what’s best for me. Instead of people (namely Christians) automatically assuming that “best” is first and foremost a husband, perhaps we should tear down that cardboard box we keep putting God in. Perhaps he actually delights in my delight. Perhaps he actually smiles when I smile, watching a gorgeous sunrise over a Hindu temple in Cambodia.
Yes, I’d like to be watching that sunrise while also holding the hand of a great man that I call my husband. One day.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it on my own right now.
Here’s hoping your journeys are full, regardless of whether or not you’ve got a traveling buddy.